Kelly grew up in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio and still resides there today. Perhaps not surprisingly, she has been a Buckeye fan since her time in the womb. When Kelly was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type II. Though Kelly admits living with a progressive neuromuscular disorder is not exactly rainbows and butterflies, she is quick to point out that SMA has introduced her to extraordinary people over the years whose paths never would have crossed her own otherwise. She is indelibly grateful for those initial encounters because many of them have led to lifelong friendships that she would not trade for anything. Relatedly, spending time with friends and family is what Kelly cherishes most.
In 2010, Kelly graduated magna cum laude from Otterbein University with degrees in psychology and English. She is an avid animal lover and has volunteered as a docent at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for the past 10 years. Some of her favorite furry and feathered friends include red pandas, foxes, snow leopards, wolves, otters, polar bears, hummingbirds and most any kind of dog. Having always been able to find sanctity, serenity and beauty in nature, Kelly thoroughly enjoys spending time outdoors and visiting places “untouched” by civilization. In regard to the latter, seeing the sun rise over Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve, in addition to the wealth of wildlife that inhabits those areas, is on her bucket list.
Kelly has been using Invacare Power Wheelchairs virtually her entire life, starting with a Jaguar at the age of two and a half! In the 32 years that have followed, she has cruised around in just three other chairs – each more complex than the last and part of the Storm Series® Power Wheelchairs. Ordering a new chair is far from simple for Kelly and her team. It’s a process that includes spending countless hours brainstorming, troubleshooting and testing as many theories as feasible before deciding upon and submitting the final spec list. After the chair arrives, considerably more time is spent tailoring every aspect of it to optimally accommodate Kelly’s specific needs in terms of comfort, support and functionality.
For Kelly and many others, it’s imperative to note that shifting something a few millimeters can significantly alter any or all of those basic necessities just referenced. Kelly spoke at length about how fortunate and thankful she is to have worked with so many people over the years who understand that and are willing to do whatever it takes to attain the most favorable outcomes possible. If not for their determination, compassion and dedication, Kelly believes that her life would be substantially less vibrant, which has never been lost on her. She is often cognizant of the fact that those individuals, in addition to quality products from Invacare and its subsidiaries, played a huge role in enabling her to confidently battle the numerous challenges NYC throws at wheelchair users; attend school, concerts, sporting events and weddings; listen to the rhythmic crashing of waves while driving her chair next to the surf on Hilton Head Island, pursue a higher education and job opportunities; take in stunning views from the summit of Aspen Mountain; go out to eat or to a movie; walk amongst giants in Sequoia National Park; and, among other things, revel in the majesty of the Grand Canyon. Simply put, family, friends, nurses, doctors, therapists, ATPs, technicians, programmers and engineers have empowered Kelly to live her best life, an achievement that pays dividends daily. In her words, “Having the freedom to interact with the world and everything in it to the best of my abilities is priceless.”
Before the end of the year, Kelly will be transitioning to an AVIVA® Storm RX™ power wheelchair after nearly two years of preparing for its arrival. On top of a new seating system, some of the features she’s most excited about are anterior tilt (a tried-and-true game changer for Kelly in regard to pain), a more compact base, the outward placement of the front casters, a major upgrade in leg support and the built-in USB ports. She is also impressed and appreciative that LiNX electronics make it unnecessary to leavethe house to make adjustments to drive settings or diagnose issues in her chair that may arise. Finally, she is very much looking forward to the AVIVA Storm RX’s improved suspension system, which will help minimize vibrations and jolts caused by traversing over uneven terrain and thresholds.
One day in the not-too-distant future, Kelly hopes to become a resource for individuals and their families in similar situations to her own. Wherever her endeavors lead, her main goal is to make a positive difference in people’s lives like scores of others have done for her.